Saturday 18th October was a beautiful sunny day in Melbourne....perfect for a tropical feast and secret supper dinner 'Coco De Mer'.
At our last event 'Lost in Jerusalem', guests Al and Eva had such a wonderful time, they kindly offered to host the next Once Upon A Table pop up dinner. We couldn't resist their their suggestion to cook Seychelles food (their family origin), coinciding with Al's mum Christine's 2 week visit to Melbourne so she could help guest chef with the Once Upon A Table team, taking over their beautiful home in Malvern and most importantly the chance to have Al and Eva be our gracious and very helpful hosts. Big Thanks!
In preparation....Bridget and Sarah hung fishing nets, shells and scattered coconuts, surfboards, orchids and sand (collected from St Kilda beach from Bridget's 2.5 yr old toddler Lily the day before). Chef Vitti, Sophie and Guest chef Christine were busy in the kitchen cooking up tantalizing smells of coconut, curries, pineapple, lime and chilli. Our talented photographer Sutejo Tan started working his magic, whilst our Seychelles DJ Gerry arrived to set up , even Marjorie a lovely lady from the Seychelles club popped in to say hi and good luck for the night.
Our guests started arriving and were welcomed with Sophie's Coco De Mer colada with fresh pineapple and grapefruit and tasty little nibbles of kingfish with ginger and sesame on quinoa crisps and spiced chickpeas on betel leaves by Chef Vitti. It was an extra special night as two of our guests were celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary we were honored to celebrate with them!
As with all our secret suppers, it takes a certain type of person to sign up to a dinner where they don't know the people, menu, or venue...we always have the most interesting collection of guests from all types of backgrounds, passions, lifestages who are all up for a night of suprise and meeting new interesting people.
This particular night, there was a warm, happy and excitable feeling in the air....when they sat down they were like children opening up their message in a bottle...their menu for the night.
Vittoria welcomed the guests and expressed our thanks to Al, Eva and Christine for their time and generosity.
Our wonderful host Al, introduced his family, talked about the Seychelles and what it was like growing up in such a relaxed, beautiful place... and also about how they couldn't resist offering to host after attending as a guest at the previous event.
To start...seafood bisque with lobster tails and tarragon
A big thanks to our sponsors Royal Hamam crockery, Kwencher Premium beer and The Collection Fine Wines and our passionate sommelier Andy , hubby of Chef Sophie.
Our little helper fairies Leah and Alyssa (Vitti's angel daughters) served hot steaming bowls our host's mum Christine's famous homemade fish and coconut curry, beef and tamarind curry, silverside and eggplant curry ...delicious!!!
There was lots of wine, happy bellies, chatting and LOTS of laughing and story telling.
Then our surprise Seychelles DJ Gerry pumped up the music and disco lights, and we danced the night away to some traditional Seychelles songs. We had a special song request from Al..... and it was so nice to see him and Eva, and Christine and Serge, dancing together, like old times. Lots of big smiles and arms waving in the air. All the guests and Once Upon A Table got into the Seychelles groove.
Chef Vitti's beautiful Coconut, lime and lemongrass pudding with coconut crisps, passionfruit curd and dehydrated pineapple was served and the Once Upon A Table team made sure they had a whole desert each!!..... It was too good to miss out.
Surprise gifts of coconut, pineapple and pandan slice and tropical candles were given and it was time to kick off our shoes and have a well deserved drink with our friendly, happy guests.
Big thanks to our guests for being adventurous and signing up for our secret dinners...also for the lovely compliments...one well seasoned Melbourne restaurant goer said it was the best dining out experience she has ever had! Another guest said the chance to meet some of the most genuine, interesting people was such a bonus.
I think that's the best part about Once Upon A Table...the chance to meet like-minded fun, friendly people looking for adventure over delicious food and wine.
Once again...great work to the Once Upon A Table team - Vitti, Sophie, Bridget, Guest chef Christine, Andy and talented photographer Sutejo Tan. Also big thanks to our angel helpers Sarah N, Sarah L, Maurice, Alyssa, Leah, Liz.
We are always looking for other amateur passionate cooks, volunteers, hosts and interesting collaborators! get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay tuned....we are having another exclusive secret dinner on Saturday 10 Jan 'Vintage Recipes Lost and Forgotten'.